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Driving safely on black ice

As winter weather progresses, many Connecticut drivers have to contend with snow-covered or icy roads. One hazard that drivers should be especially cautious of is black ice. It is important to know how to recognize it and what should be done when it is encountered.

Black ice receives its name from its appearance. According to Accuweather.com, black ice is clear but tends to blend into the pavement. This means that drivers often do not realize there is ice on the road until they drive over it. Rain and a ground temperature of 32 degrees are the perfect conditions for black ice, as rain may freeze as soon as it hits the road. This makes black ice more dangerous than snow because cars can lose traction.

Drivers most commonly encounter this road hazard on overpasses and parts of the road that are usually in shadow. The time of day also affects when black ice appears. Because of the lower temperatures, drivers may want to use more caution in the evening and early morning. Black ice may be spotted in advance. It is a good idea to look for shiny or dark parts of the road, as this can be a sign of ice.

If drivers see black ice on the road, there are a few precautions they can take to make sure they remain safe. Cars.com says that drivers should not brake when they hit ice but instead brake when they see an ice patch approaching. Additionally, lane changes can bring vehicles into contact with ice between lanes. Drivers may want to change lanes only if they need to. It is also a good idea to drive with headlights set to low and refrain from using cruise control.

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